I used to love this place. I remember when they were in Schaumberg on Higgins in what was called the "Hippodrome". Back then, it seemed like lots of beer flowed along with great Maxwell Polishes and tons of fries. A trip out to Hippo's was always a good time and meant great eats.
Then suddenly in the 90's they closed, and altogether disappeared from the food scene. Sometime after new millennia I heard that they quietly reopened only a few miles away and since that time I've wanted to go back and revisit.
Flash forward 15 years; now we have a tucked away Hippo’s in the back end of Elk Grove Village, that still has great polish sausages, but is absent of the beer and sports bar atmosphere, along with those trays full fries. Not that fries aren’t available, or that they taste bad, they just don’t seem so voluminous and wonderful. Time changes things.
I went and had a decent lunch, but the thing that struck me the most was that in addition to all the “larger than life itself” memories of how I remembered the Hippos of old, was that the prices seemed way out of whack for what I got.
The Polish is still pretty good, but the fries are frozen crinkle cuts, the Italian beef is kind of a “so-what, it’s alright”, and the gyros are pretty much your standard Kronos Central off the cone gyros.
Sometimes some memories aren’t worth trying to re-live, and need to remain simply memories.